In the Valley: “Need of Grace”

O Lord,
Thou knowest my great unfitness for service,
my present deadness,
my inability to do anything for thy glory,
my distressing coldness of heart.
I am weak, ignorant, unprofitable,
and loathe and abhor myself.

I am at a loss to know what thou wouldest
have me do,
for I feel amazingly deserted by thee,
and sense thy presence so little;
Thou makest me possess the sins of my youth,
and the dreadful sin of my nature,
so that I feel all sin,
I cannot think or act but every motion is sin.

Return again with showers of converting grace
to a poor gospel-abusing sinner.

Help my soul to breathe after holiness,
after a constant devotedness to thee,
after growth in grace more abundantly every day.

O Lord, I am lost in the pursuit of this blessedness,
And am ready to sink because I fall short
of my desire;
Help me to hold out a little longer,
until the happy hour of deliverance comes,
for I cannot lift my soul to thee
if thou of thy goodness bring me not nigh.

Help me to be diffident, watchful, tender,
lest I offend my blessed Friend
in thought and behaviour;
I confide in thee and lean upon thee,
and need thee at all times to assist and lead me.

O that all my distresses and apprehensions
might prove but Christ’s school
to make me fit for greater service
by teaching me the great lesson of humility.

– from Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan Prayers

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